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Behind the Wings: Military roots in avionics lead to working nose-to-tail on commercial aircraft

“The military prepared me for my avionics position which made the transition from the military to Piedmont very smooth,” shares Albany (ALB) Avionics Technician Scott Hughes. Scott’s combined twelve years of active duty and guardsman experience has provided him the training and skills he needs to be successful in his role at Piedmont. “Nothing about this job seems overwhelming. I’m very comfortable in this position which I attribute to my military training.”

After high school, Scott attended college on an athletic scholarship for basketball and soccer but after sustaining injuries, decided to join the United States Air Force. “The best man at my wedding encouraged me to join the Air Force with him,” shares Scott.  “I knew the military would pay for me to complete my education when I returned to school.”

In the Air Force, Scott served as an avionics technician working on F22 Raptor fighter jets at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada. After six years, he moved to Peoria, Illinois where he joined the Air National Guard. As a guardsman, he serves at least one weekend a month and two weeks during the year.  While serving in Peoria, Scott was nominated for the Non-Commissioned Officers Association’s Vanguard Award which is presented annually to a single member from each of the Armed Services who has distinguished himself/herself through acts of heroism. A local police department nominated Scott for providing medical assistance and controlling the scene of an accident after an elderly woman was hit by a car in a crosswalk. She survived and according to the nomination, Scott’s actions are credited for contributing to her survival.

Scott later joined the 109th Airlift Wing in Scotia, New York working in the communications unit where he works in the radio shop. Seeking to apply his military skills and knowledge in commercial aviation, Scott joined Piedmont as an avionics technician in October 2022. “I have roots in avionics and enjoy working on aircraft,” shares Scott. “I could’ve sought a job with a mainline carrier, but I wanted to work for a regional where I would have the opportunity to expand my knowledge working on an aircraft from nose to tail rather than one particular area which is common at mainline carriers.”

Scott says he brings many skills with him to Piedmont that he gained in the military including leadership, a technical troubleshooting sense, and a big-picture mindset which allows him to analyze and diagnose problems more easily.  When stressful situations arise, his military training helps him stay level-headed and focus on completing the task at hand. “When others need help, I want them to know they can count on me,” shares Scott.

In ALB, Scott works the third shift where he is responsible for maintaining systems for two RON aircraft, which means they remain overnight, in addition to completing conformity checks on the new E-145 aircraft being transferred from Envoy.

“If you’re the type of person who seeks answers to problems, avionics is the place to go,” shares Scott. “Avionics enables you to challenge yourself and expand your mind. Some nights the work is simpler and other nights troubleshooting can take all night but that is what challenges you and creates a great work balance.”

In his spare time, Scott volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and as a youth basketball and soccer coach. He is attending school to complete his bachelor’s degree and most recently worked with his unit to clean up a local park to turn it into a veteran’s park complete with walking trails and statues commemorating different wars.

Together, Scott and his wife have a combined family of six children. He is proud to share that his nine-year-old son has expressed interest in joining the Air Force and working on planes just like his dad.

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Behind the Wings is a Piedmont feature that highlights the accomplishments of the aviation professionals who make us Piedmont Proud inside and outside the airport. Piedmont is proud to recognize our military veteran team members and their contributions to the success of the airline and making a difference in their communities.